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Re(1):Translations of Genji (attn IGGY/MAOU)
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Buruma (no, not [i]that [/i]kind of buruma!) is always a great read. Iggy is away right now, so you're doomed with my impressions until he returns. Fortunately, we can see from Buruma's text that Iggy is not only the most gothic Londonian we know, he is also the most [i]Heian[/i]: [QUOTE]The main thing required of a noble gentleman was a sense of style. Seducing another manís wife could be forgiven; a bad poem, clumsy handwriting, or the wrong perfume could not. "Heian society was on the whole governed by style rather than by any moral principles, and good looks tended to take the place of virtue." anyone unlucky enough to live in the provinces was considered too uncouth to be taken seriously.[/QUOTE] Meanwhile, because I am an art criminal or not masochistic enough, I have never wrestled with Genji in the original text, let alone in English translation of any era. It's true that Genji presents a great way of thinking about the purpose of writing and translation: should Genji be written in ancient English, but with understandable references? Should it be written in ancient English, but with unknowable references to all but the super-literate, producing a similar experience to reading the original in Japanese? If neither of these, would the author's time be better spent translating a modern Japanese translation (adaptation) of Genji? And if someone's interest were purely scholarly to the point of reading something abstruse, shouldn't they be reading in the original by that point anyway? This question is not limited to truly ancient texts. Consider how in Japan, most people will know Shakespeare's prose, among the finest in the English language, in modern Japanese variants. Hearing that most famous line expressed as "Romeo, why are you Romeo?" in Japanese just sucks. Or consider Murakami's newer translation of Catcher in the Rye---would it be lacking if it did not reproduce 1950s Japanese slang to match the 1950s American slang in the original? Is there even any point to writing in this way given that 1950s America was nothing like 1950s Japan? You see where I'm going with this. In conclusion, no one can know Genji---Japanese, American or otherwise. Also, as some of the new Genji translation's unfortunate anachronisms described suggest, this is a reminder that a good translator of prose also needs to be a good writer, period, which is a rare combination! [QUOTE] [URL=http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-9hQyzfIjMIw/WcBdwEDkr4I/AAAAAAABamw/UyXv56kSrKQSGaM5khkpX3gTzNnB3Yw3wCHMYCw/s0/000.png]On the fine details of Murakami's diction[/URL] [/QUOTE]Don't think I didn't notice this! Word choice is [i]very[/i] important! [:2ch_haahaa:]This has been driving me crazy for a while because I can't confirm since my books aren't with me now. I can certainly recreate in my mind which Japanese words he [i]wouldn't[/i] use, and this translation (if the words match) seems right, but...
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